September 2008

interesting knife holder in a trendy shop

Sigmund Freud Park


Very cool city-run rent-a-bike stand

seen on the way to the MuseumPlatz

Karlsplatz subway stop and cafe

From the 925 Rally Coalition:

Join us to raise your voice of conscience against religious appeasers of tyrant Ahmadinejad!

On Thursday, Sept 25, at 6pm in New York City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, The American Friends Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, Quaker UN Office, Religions for Peace, and the World Council of Churches-UN Liaison Office will be honoring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at an Iftar (dinner to break the day’s Ramadan fast). Other organizations, political leaders and media have also been invited. Read the Text of the Invitation.

These religious leaders are about to betray their brethren across all religions, parties, and countries by honoring the tyrannical regime of Ahmadinejad and the Iranian mullahs of this terrorist state.

At the same time, Women United, the Jewish Action Alliance, Stand With Us, Center for Security Policy, the Catholic League, the The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Alliance of Iranian Women and over 30 organizations of all faiths and political affiliations will hold an interfaith rally to counter this betrayal of principles, to protest Ahmadinejad’s presence at the United Nations, and to oppose Iran’s nuclear weapons program and outrageous threats against the USA and America’s ally, Israel. See the full list of participating organizations HERE , updated daily. UPDATE – RAIN OR SHINE, THE RALLY WILL GO ON! WEATHER REPORTS DAILY ON THIS PAGE




more photos here…

..and here’s a first attempt to download a video onto flickr and embed it on a web page.

A New York minute at Grand Central Station (warning – this is very loud)

Photos from Vienna’s Palmenhaus





My report from an August visit to Beirut is up at Pajamas Media: Two Visits to a Fast-Changing Lebanon

…Hezbollah’s effort to take over Lebanon is often portrayed as a religious quest, but at the [2006] rally, in the tent city and in the crowd, I saw few signs of religious devotion. I saw a lot of evidence that Hezbollah’s “civil disobedience” was politically opportunistic extortion. With their ability to gain allies, with their weapons and their support from Syria and Iran, Hezbollah and friends were demanding that the rest of Lebanon give in to their demands or risk civil war, basically saying, “Nice country you’ve got; wouldn’t want anything to happen to it.”

The first time I visited Beirut, it was as a blogger and a photographer, documenting a city in the midst of an attempted putsch. When I revisited the city this August, it was as a tourist, visiting friends.

Unfortunately, many of the Lebanese bloggers I knew had left Beirut. Most people were leaving for better economic opportunities in the Gulf, Europe, or America. For those who stayed in Lebanon, goodbye parties were frequent, almost weekly social gatherings…



– How many partisan bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb in the weeks before an election?

The proof that the SNL sketch was making fun of NYT reporters and not of Palin is that this is apparently the only political SNL sketch unavailable online…

Hmm..did NBC pull the video because of complaints from the right or because of legal action from the NYT?

Millions spend half of income on housing

Ray, 44, is looking for work and renting out a room in his two-bedroom condo in Davie, Fla., for $500, but his monthly income doesn’t match his expenses and he’s facing foreclosure.

“I barely have money to survive,” he said.

Ray is one of more than 7.5 million people — almost 15 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage — who are spending half of their income or more on housing costs, according to 2007 data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. That is up from nearly 7.1 million the year before.

Traditionally, the government and most lenders consider a homeowner spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing costs to be financially burdened. But that definition now covers almost 38 percent of American homeowners with a mortgage — 19 million of them.

Though home prices have fallen this year, in the most expensive markets where home prices tripled during the boom, many working families still cannot afford to buy a home.

“We had a bubble,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. “This is a case where we absolutely want the market to adjust.”

During the dot-com era, people were willing to invest millions of dollars on businesses that had no hope of ever showing a profit. Sure, you could ‘flip’ them, but everyone knew that businesses based on no profit plus ‘flipping’ would peak, then fall. A lot of people ignored that fact, and they lost a lot of money.

However, the government didn’t finance the dot-com bubble and the majority of the population wasn’t using dot coms to provide warmth and shelter. This housing crisis will move slower and it will be much larger. The dot com bust was like a tornado. The housing crisis will be more like Katrina.

Bankers were willing to lend money to just about anyone because house prices were going up. As long as house prices kept going up, the mortgage system thrived.

However, anyone who thought about this situation would have to realize that housing prices could not continue to rise indefinitely. There had to be a certain point when real estate prices would peak, then fall. This isn’t rocket science, it’s basic physics – economics – life.

But no one thought about it. Bankers, financial experts, stock brokers are educated people. But they didn’t think about where they were going or what they were doing. They didn’t think outside of their little box. Why should they, when the box had such a nice view and the $300-per-bottle vodka was so smooth?

We have to wonder why educated people don’t think. Why do they base their actions and their fortunes on a obviously bad idea?

And what will the next bad idea be?

Here’s the SNL video of the NY Times parody, thanks to Allah at Hot Air who says:

Think of it as a comic rendering of Saturday night’s quotes of the day. Pretty funny — you’ll laugh, more than once — but not as gratifying as it would have been if they’d zeroed in on the smearmongering.

UPDATE: Sorry, the skit has been removed. According to YouTube, it’s no longer available due to a copyright claim by NBC Universal

Partisan bloggers say: “That’s not funny. It is utter filth”

At the Power Line News Forum, IronDioPriest says:

OK. This is it. I HATE the Left. The Left is showing itself to be the embodiment of evil on this earth. Satan’s playthings. All you liberals can kiss my a$$. Your protestations mean absolutely nothing to me. You are all one and the same in my mind now. You are all my enemies, and you will all rot in the same hell.

Freedom Eden says: Saturday Night Live went WAY over the line in a skit on the September 20 show.

They both seem to have read this World Net Daily article on the offending skit:

Palin family ‘incest’ joked about on NBC
‘Saturday Night Live’ skit suggests husband of VP candidate has sex with own daughters

A week after a high-profile send-up of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live,” the NBC comedy show returned to making fun of the Alaskan governor in a skit where New York Times reporters sought to probe the possibility Palin’s husband was having sex with the couple’s own daughters…

Okay, I’m totally opposed to the press invading people’s private lives and/or making up stupid stories. I also think SNL has a lefty bias. But I saw the Saturday Night Live skit discussed at World Net Daily, and the skit was dead-on. The whole thing was a parody of how clueless and provincial NY Times writers can be.

I wish I could find the video (according to WND, the clip of the incest sketch was never posted online). The skit starts sets the mood with the with the best joke. The editor, played by Franco, announces that he’s taking his best investigative reporters off of their current assignments and putting them on the Palin beat.

One reporter raises his hand and says: “..but I’m working on a report about the current crisis at Lehman Brothers”

The editor says “…that’s not important, Lehman isn’t going anywhere.”

So, are we supposed to see this editor as a fact-based kind of guy? Of course not.

One female Times writer is infamous for making a fortune over bogus sexual harrassment suits. One Times writer weeps when he discovers that there is only one psychoanalyst in Alaska (he sees his NY-based analysts at least twice a day). None of the writers can drive, and one had irrational fears of polar bear attacks. Most abandoned the assignment when they heard that there were few taxis and no Thai takeout in Alaska. The Palin incest rumor was provided as another example of the Times’ general cluelessness.

If the media had never spread rumors about incest within the Palin family, SNL could possibly deserve a lot of grief for making this grotesque suggestion. But the media did spread those lies, and SNL was obviously parodying them.

Get a grip, people.

Mickey Mouse must die, says Saudi Arabian cleric/diplomat Sheikh Muhammad Munajid:

The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Sharia, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed.

Mr Munajid was asked to give Islam’s teaching on mice during a religious affairs programme broadcast on al-Majd TV, an Arab television network.

According to a translation prepared by the Middle East Media Research Institute, an American press monitoring service, he said: “The mouse is one of Satan’s soldiers and is steered by him…

“Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases.”

Last month Mr Munajid condemned the Beijing Olympics as the “bikini Olympics”, claiming that nothing made Satan happier than seeing females athletes dressed in skimpy outfits.

A former diplomat. There are the guys who our State Department depends on to:

1. be a moderating force in the Middle East

2. keep our economy running smoothly

3. help us in the war against terrorism

..and we wonder why everything is so screwed up?

UPDATE: In the comments section, DPU asks:

“And there’s no chance [he] was making a joke.”

Yeah, I’d say it’s a typical example of Saudi po-mo irony. Those guys just kill at the Laff Lounge.

I mean literally. The head of Saudi Arabian Supreme Judiciary Council Sheikh Salih A-Lahidan declared that evil TV [satellite channel owners] can be killed, saying “It is legitimate to kill those who encourage corruption in faith…if their evil cannot be stopped by other penalties,”

Hey, that’s the same Saudi government official who, in 2005, told young Saudis to go to Iraq and become suicide bombers. You know, King Abdullah’s best friend. What a kidder.

…and of course, they blame her.

What are the media thugs going to do next, mug her and blame her for walking down the wrong alley? Where are the police when we need them?

Just another reason why this newsreport from the Onion is so true.

UPDATE: Gawker describes their incompetent hacking efforts while also blaming Palin:

Did the internet just cause Sarah Palin to destroy evidence? The potential Veep is in a bit of trouble for conducting state business using her personal, unarchived email address ( instead of her official account (which is, of course, subject to laws requiring the retention of government records). Emails from that Yahoo account are already being sought in connection with the Troopergate investigation. Now comes word that Anonymous, the fun-loving Internet trouble-makers based loosely around the message board 4Chan, gained access to another Palin email account: It looks legit! The offending posts, screenshots, heretofore unseen family photos, and emails have all been deleted from Imageshack and 4Chan. But we have them. You want to read Sarah Palin’s email?

Ok, sad thing first: a good Samaritan reset the password and tried to alert Sarah. But he also posted the new password, causing multiple people to try to log in at once, freezing the account for 24 hours. And now, the account has been deleted!

I may as well come out of the closet and admit that I’m a still-on-the-fence voter who thought that it was time to have a Democrat in the White House. I don’t agree with the Dems on foreign policy, but foreign policy doesn’t change when the President changes, it’s just marketed in a different way. Foreign policy is run by the malign unelected gargoyles of the state department, and elections can’t change that. I agree with Dems on most domestic issues.

I don’t object to what the press did because they’re picking on Palin, I object to what they did because I think that people who hack into other people’s email are criminal scum.

This is just one of many illustrations of how the press has turned into a fairly powerful thugocracy. They crow about the fact that they’re above the law. They aren’t guardians of our freedom, they’re not the voice of the people. They haven’t been for years.

If you woke up one morning to find 10 newsvans parked in front of your house and a swarm of reporters banging on your front door, would you feel:

1) apprehension and dread, as if you were about to be attacked by a many-tentacled monster

2) overjoyed that the unbiased guardians of freedom were blessing you with their attention

Most people would probably choose 1). According to a Gallup poll, most people think the media is less trustworthy than used car salesman.

I wonder what the results would have been if hackers and purse snatchers were included on the list of professions.

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